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How to Use KPIs to Measure Your Software Development Team's Efficiency

  • Publish Date: Posted almost 2 years ago

​When it comes to software development, it’s important to have clearly defined goals for your team. Using key performance indicators (KPIs) allows you to measure your team’s performance and whether they are meeting the objectives that have been set for them. You’ll be able to see how efficient they are, as well as seeing if there are any improvements that need to be made. KPIs are especially beneficial if some of your team is remote, or if you outsource certain tasks. With KPIs highlighting performance and efficiency, there is no need to micromanage. Instead, leaders can take a step back and focus on other areas of running a business.


The KPIs You Need to Measure to Track Software Development Efficiency

Developer Productivity

It’s important to look at KPIs that fall into this category, as they highlight the team’s efficiency during the software development process. This information will highlight how much time developers are putting into the project, and how much work they are doing from beginning to end.

     Velocity - This looks at the amount of work the development team can do in a single sprint; the higher the velocity, the better their functionality. Using this information, you can estimate the productivity of the team as a whole. You can measure velocity by the number of tasks completed, the number of days worked or by story points. Looking at three sprints is key, as this will help you to work out an average.

     Sprint Burnout - This is a more specific KPI and it looks at the amount of work done in a single and specific sprint, whereas velocity takes an average.

     Release Burnout - This looks at the release progress of a product. It helps a software development team to know whether they are ahead of schedule, on time or falling behind. This KPI is often used to update customers if a product is likely to be released early or late.

     Cycle Time - This KPI reflects the amount of time spent on a specific task, and it’s used to work out the efficiency of the development process as a whole. It’s also a good way to estimate how long it will take the team to finish a similar task in the future.

     Code Coverage - This looks at how much of the source code works during the testing process, and measures the quality of the code. The higher the code coverage, the better the software development process.

     Code Stability - By looking at minor changes in the product, this KPI highlights how they could potentially harm the software or hinder the goals of the business. Changing a few lines of code should not impact the rest of the application, and code stability measures this.

     Code Churn - This measures code stability and looks at the frequency of code changes. If the code has been written in a way that means it needs altering to accommodate new features, it’s a potentially risky and high maintenance piece of code.

Software Performance Metrics

By looking at KPIs that fall into this category, the software quality assurance process can be determined. These KPIs allow you to assess and prioritise problems within various stages of software development. They help with management, performance, debugging and costs.

     Throughput - This is similar to velocity, and it helps the project management team to assess how a software development team is spending time and workload. It measures the number of tasks, bugs and features.

     Response Time - This looks at the time between a request being sent to the server, and when the last byte is received from the server.

     Reliability - This KPI looks at how likely it is that the software will produce the expected output. A reliable piece of software should be able to detect, isolate, report and correct any errors.

     Availability - This looks at whether or not the software is operational when it needs to be. It showcases, as a percentage, the amount of time the software is functional during the time it should be.

     Serviceability - This looks at how quick and easy it is to repair a faulty software system. It factors in how issues are diagnosed, such as whether the software automatically contacts the service centre when a fault arises. Serviceability is linked to availability; when the time for one decreases, the time for the other will increase.


Defect Metrics

Defects can be a huge problem for software development teams, as they separate what is expected from the software and what is actually delivered. This is why it’s important to track and get rid of as many defects as possible. These KPIs allow developers to evaluate their own work when an error or fault occurs.

     Code Defect Detection Percentage - This KPI measures the efficiency of the testing team. It calculates the number of defects that happen before the software is released, and compares them to the total number of defects.

     Vulnerability - This measures the number of weaknesses within a software system and how vulnerable the system is to unauthorised actions, threats and hacking. A high vulnerability could be a security concern.

     Actual Security Incidents - This looks at the number of times someone has tried to gain unauthorised access to a software system, as well as looking at information destruction and disclosure. This is an important KPI, as security breaches can compromise personal data. It highlights whether or not a software program is secure.

     Mean Time to Detect Defects - MTTD is the average time it takes for a malfunction within a software system to be found. It measures the time between the issue occurring, and the team detecting it. The longer the MTTD, the longer the downtime and this could lower customer satisfaction.

     Mean Time to Repair - MTTR is just as important as MTTD, and it refers to the time between a security breach and a solution being found. The lower the MTTR, the more competent the development team’s ability to fix software security issues and bugs.

Usability and UX Metrics

These KPIs are a vital part of evaluating the end user’s satisfaction with the product, but they can be difficult to measure as enjoyment and satisfaction of a product is subjective. Plus, the results are dependent on the customer engaging and offering insights.

     Net Promoter Score (NPS) - This looks at how likely the customer is to recommend the software to someone else. It measures customer loyalty and user satisfaction, and scores range between -100 and +100.

     Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) - This KPI is there to determine how satisfied the end user is with the product, and it’s ranked between one and five. Though this is an easy KPI to measure, it does rely on customers completing a survey and providing feedback. It’s a good way to find out how customers view a software and if there are any issues.

     Customer Effort Score (CES) - This KPI also looks at end user experience, but it focuses on how easy it is for a customer to interact with the business whilst using the software. For example, how a customer completes a transaction or reports an issue. This is ranked on a scale from one to seven.